Sophisticated Sanitation Provided At TomorrowWorld

Serving the U.S. debut of TomorrowWorld music festival meant building a sophisticated portable sanitation infrastructure in a Georgia farm field to serve thousands.
Sophisticated Sanitation Provided At TomorrowWorld
TomorrowWorld set up a tent city called DreamVille with all necessary services for campers in the middle of a farm field.

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Mark Slade operates Comfort Zone Portables out of a 5-acre facility in Alpharetta, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. But his service territory extends along the Atlantic seaboard as he focuses on specialty products and very large events. He keeps unmanned equipment yards – he calls them ready-preparedness centers – in Tampa, Fla., Baton Rouge, La., Manchester, Tenn., and Vidalia, Ga. When needed, he sends a team or contracts with locals to deploy the equipment. Slade’s staff of 30 was supplemented with 30 temporaries for the TomorrowWorld event.


Slade grew up in a family business involved in trash collection, recycling and landfills. Eventually he turned his attention to the liquid waste industry. “In my opinion that business had more of a demand,” he says. “It was a dirty job, no one wanted to do it, but I knew it was something that was very needed.”

In 2000 he entered the industry by buying a small company with 100 units and two small homemade trucks. But after two weeks he had a moment of despair and realized this was not the way to get into the business. “I trashed the trucks, went out and bought brand-new equipment and came out on the horse with my sword to conquer it,” he says. “This is not a business you can shoestring.” From then on he went at it in a big way and quickly built up his inventory to 4,000 units.

Today about 65 percent of his work is for special events. He’ll do any event but is beginning to focus on specialty applications – military work, disaster relief, large gatherings – and has come up with innovative products. He started providing mobile showers in 2003, building them out of ISO shipping containers. Mobile laundries soon followed and recently self-contained mobile sink trailers that can be set up and ready to go in minutes. He’s also got a variety of restroom trailers – “Everything from rough-and-ready construction models to granite and marble high-end units.”

Then he began pushing the envelope on portable restrooms, wanting to find something innovative. His quest led him to the Netherlands and Peter Van Overbeek, who also owns a portable restroom business. They partnered to bring Van Overbeek’s novel products to the U.S., beginning at TomorrowWorld.


Using his engineering background, Van Overbeek created the Pop Up3, a modular, collapsible portable restroom cabin around a flushable toilet, incorporating  into a vacuum system similar to bathrooms on commercial airliners. Using less than one pint of water, a push of a button flushes the toilet. The waste is conveyed through a macerator pump from Jets Sanitary Systems and into a sewer or holding tank. The vacuum also removes the air inside the unit, thus eliminating odors. Units were designed with transportation in mind, Slade says. “Three fold up into what looks like a suitcase.” Thirty-three “suitcases” fit on a 53-foot flat-bed trailer. Assembly is quick and easy, cabins are linked together and up to 60 can operate off one Jets vacuum system.

Two other products are the Ureo, a rotomolded plastic eight-position urinal basin with privacy end caps, and the Refresh unit, an eight-position rotomolded plastic hand-wash station with water spigots and mirrors.


TomorrowWorld 2013, the American premier of a Belgian electronic music festival, was held Sept. 26-30 on a farm in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga. The experience was intended to be immersive for festivalgoers with a fairy tale theme carried through every detail. About 140,000 revelers from 80 countries enjoyed a lineup of 300 artists performing on eight stages amidst pyrotechnics, lasers, 3-D elements and animation. Stages – shipped in from Belgium – were enormous. Main stage was a 3-D classical book library 400 feet wide and 90 feet tall, with the giant Book of Wisdom making a dramatic open and close each day.

Thirty thousand people camped in DreamVille, a tent city complete with marketplace, upscale food and daily newspaper. Guests brought their own tent or rented one of the festival’s decorative Easy Tents or hard-sided Relax Rooms.


When event organizers brought TomorrowWorld to the United States they contacted Slade because of his experience handling extremely large events and complex setups. After interviews, he was awarded a five-year contract.


An enormous amount of infrastructure was required to turn the 500-acre site into a small city. Slade was involved from the start, working for over a year on planning. “We were in it from the beginning doing the design, layout, permits, water, sewer – everything,” he says.

He partnered with MTD International, a company specializing in plumbing for temporary installations. Beginning the end of August 2013 Slade estimates they ran at least a mile of pipe for fresh-, gray- and blackwater, tapping from a hydrant located near the entrance road to the property. They used reels of flexible polyethylene pipe (2-inch blue for freshwater, 3-inch black for gray- and blackwater) as well as PVC pipe. Pumps were used to transfer waste from PVC to flexible piping. Although the event will return to the farm this year everything had to be removed at the end because it is a working equestrian venue. The flexible pipe was rolled up, the glued PVC units discarded.

The terminal point for waste was Slade’s on-site tank farm with six 22,000-gallon frac tanks provided by Rain for Rent. Three additional Rain for Rent 22,000-gallon frac tanks were placed on the property – one to collect wastewater at the crew campground and two for the portable restroom vacuum trucks to transfer their waste into.

In addition to providing portable restrooms, the company brought in and plumbed urinals, hand-wash stations, showers, restroom trailers and the Pop Up3s.


The company provided 700 Integras and 47 ADA-compliant Senators from PolyPortables, 160 Pop Up3s, 100 Ureos, 75 Refresh units, 100 PolyPortables hand-wash stations, 300 shower heads, six 20-by-8 containerized seven-head showers, nine Ameri-Can Engineering shower trailers and 25 executive restroom trailers (primarily Ameri-Can, JAG Mobile Solutions and AMS Global).

Comfort Zone Oasis is the company’s name for a full-service shower-restroom pod. Three were set up in DreamVille, each with 100 propane-heated shower heads (with privacy curtains) inside of a tent, 60 Integras, two Senators, six Ureos and eight potable water-dispensing Refresh units for washing up, brushing teeth and filling water bottles.

All Pop Up3s were placed near the main stage because that was the central focus of the festival, and the one place everyone would be at some point. They complemented the high-tech theme of the event, and Slade felt it was the best place to showcase the new units.

The containerized showers and 50 Integras were set up at the crew campground. Shower and restroom trailers were provided for the artists’ mansion; VIP, media and administrative areas; and upscale camping sites. The rest of the equipment was set up in large pods they called Comfort Zone Stations, spread throughout the facility, primarily adjacent to the stages. In all cases, restrooms were separated by gender with privacy fencing between.

Units were brought in all through September. Tear down and removal took two weeks.


Key personnel stayed on site during the event, sleeping in bunkhouses. Others were bused in daily. A quick staff meeting took place every morning to talk about issues, concerns and requests. The work day was split into two 10-hour shifts, with the first team working 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., the second 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Slade was on call during the four uncovered hours in the event of a problem. For large events Slade always has T-shirts made for the crew, identifying them as staff, with the company logo on the front and back, and done in the color scheme of the event – pink-mauve, in this case.

Using 14 vacuum trucks the company serviced units three times a day – early morning, midday and late afternoon. Most carried between 1,100 and 1,500 gallons of waste and 300 to 400 gallons of freshwater in steel and aluminum tanks. The majority of trucks were built by Lely Manufacturing Inc., Keith Huber Corp. and Best Enterprises Inc. His pumps are from Conde (Westmoor Ltd.) and Masport Inc., and deodorant products are from J & J Chemical Co. Access to units was from behind-the-scenes roads as organizers wanted to preserve the illusory experience for attendees at all times.

Three 7,000-gallon and two 5,000-gallon Acro and Dragon tanker trailers (some aluminum, some steel, with Jurop and Masport Inc. pumps) were used to continuously haul waste from the frac tanks to a local municipal treatment plant – half a million gallons in total.


After a year of planning and a month of setup, Slade was finally able to let his hair down a bit and enjoy the event. “It was incredible,” he says. “One of the most energizing events I’ve ever been a part of, the whole jumping and dancing, which is a big part of the event.”

Before the weekend was out, he too was jumping around. “That’s kind of how you start walking – you jump. You’re just bouncing around getting things done.” He had good reason for the happy mood, as all the hard work paid off, everything went smoothly, and he’s looking forward to a repeat performance this year.


Acro Trailer Company - 800/589-5245 -

Ameri-Can Engineering - 574/892-5151 -

AMS Global - 888/574-4222 -

Best Enterprises, Inc. - 800/288-2378 -

Dragon Products, Ltd. - 877/783-5538 -

J & J Chemical Co. - 800/345-3303 -

JAG Mobile Solutions - 800/815-2557 -

Jurop -

Keith Huber Corporation - 800/334-8237 -

Lely Manufacturing, Inc. - 800/334-2763 -

Masport, Inc. - 800/228-4510 -

PolyPortables, LLC - 800/241-7951 -

Rain for Rent - 800/742-7246 -

Westmoor Ltd. - 800/367-0972 -


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